Most economical 1200 amp service

too many amp

Member
Location
Alabama, USA
Occupation
Agriculture
Hi all, new to the forum here.

I am in the process of getting a 1200 amp service installed for large agricultural warehouse. Originally during budgeting, I had planned on having multiple service drops, such that I would have 3 meters feeding 3 of 400 amp panels, each of which would feed 2 of 200 amp panels, for a total of 6 200 amp panels for different sections of this warehouse. However after speaking with the power company engineer, he has informed me that they require a single disconnect per building, such that all power to the structure can be disabled with a single switch.. Based on the info I've gathered online, and talking to an electrician, this will increase the cost of the service installation by at least a factor of 5. Either that, or we would need to section the warehouse off with fire walls such that each 400 amp service would be fully separated from fire, which would cost even more.

Is there some solution to this that both I and my electrician have overlooked that would keep costs reasonable? What is the most cost effective way to install a 1200 amp service, assuming that no single panel feeding loads would require more than a standard 200a panel?

Thank you guys for any help!
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
Since you need a main I would look into a service switchboard with a 1200 amp main and then as many feeder circuit breakers that you need. Not sure why the single main is required because the NEC would allow the switchboard to have up to 6 disconnects which is what you have and eliminate the main.
 

oldsparky52

Senior Member
Is this a single-phase or 3-phase service?

How big is the agricultural warehouse? What are the loads? Is this a large grow room?

Has the job been drawn by an EE or is it just you and the electrician drawing it up?
 
I don't know about 5 times as much. I recently priced out a 1000A panel board with 6 200 A breakers. IIRC it was about 4k for the MLO vs twice as much, 9k for the version with a 1000A main. Panelboards go up to 1200 amp and are likely quite a bit cheaper than switchboards.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
However after speaking with the power company engineer, he has informed me that they require a single disconnect per building, such that all power to the structure can be disabled with a single switch..
Might want to verify that. NEC allows 6 disconnects per allowed "service". 'Thing is they must still be grouped at same location so you still have to go to one location to disconnect all power from the building. An exception would be like you said to install firewalls and such - effectively making more than one building with a service allowed at each one of them. In that case you also would not be allowed to supply a circuit in one "building" with a circuit from another "building" as the general rule, adds complications at times when something is common to both "buildings" in some way.

I'd bet your POCO has services with multiple service disconnects on their system.

If you ordered a 1200 amp I line panel with 200 amp feeder breakers as well as all your other panels/breakers all on one order through an authorized distributor I bet you get much better price than you may expect. Buy each item individually "off the shelf" and add up the separate prices and it is easily 5-10 times more than they will charge you for what is needed for entire job in one small job request. Don't want Square D, most others do about the same thing.
 

oldsparky52

Senior Member
If you ordered a 1200 amp I line panel with 200 amp feeder breakers as well as all your other panels/breakers all on one order through an authorized distributor I bet you get much better price than you may expect. Buy each item individually "off the shelf" and add up the separate prices and it is easily 5-10 times more than they will charge you for what is needed for entire job in one small job request.
Can I get an AMEN! :)
 
I don't know about 5 times as much. I recently priced out a 1000A panel board with 6 200 A breakers. IIRC it was about 4k for the MLO vs twice as much, 9k for the version with a 1000A main. Panelboards go up to 1200 amp and are likely quite a bit cheaper than switchboards.
That was 120/208 65kaic. If it's 277/480 likely a larger jump to MB because that would trigger requirement for GFP
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
My suggestion.

Buy a 1200 A MCCB and a type 4x box with an external disconnect handle. You can get the thing made up by a UL508a panel shop listed as a service disconnecting means. You might even be able to buy one this way from a CB manufacturer. Locate it outside where the utility can bring the service conductors in.

Run tap conductors on the outside of the building to each of six 200 A panelboards with main CB.
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
Might want to verify that. NEC allows 6 disconnects per allowed "service". 'Thing is they must still be grouped at same location so you still have to go to one location to disconnect all power from the building. An exception would be like you said to install firewalls and such - effectively making more than one building with a service allowed at each one of them. In that case you also would not be allowed to supply a circuit in one "building" with a circuit from another "building" as the general rule, adds complications at times when something is common to both "buildings" in some way.

I'd bet your POCO has services with multiple service disconnects on their system.

If you ordered a 1200 amp I line panel with 200 amp feeder breakers as well as all your other panels/breakers all on one order through an authorized distributor I bet you get much better price than you may expect. Buy each item individually "off the shelf" and add up the separate prices and it is easily 5-10 times more than they will charge you for what is needed for entire job in one small job request. Don't want Square D, most others do about the same thing.
Which is great until they adopt the 2020 code! LOL!
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Which is great until they adopt the 2020 code! LOL!
2020 you can still have 2-6 disconnects. What you won't be allowed to do anymore is a main lug panel with 2-6 mains in it, and switchboards would need to have multiple mains in separate sections of the switchboard.

So nothing would prevent OP's setup from having six sets of underground service conductors feeding six 200 amp service disconnects, or one main underground feed, splice box or gutter and then six service disconnecting means using 2020 NEC.
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
2020 you can still have 2-6 disconnects. What you won't be allowed to do anymore is a main lug panel with 2-6 mains in it, and switchboards would need to have multiple mains in separate sections of the switchboard.

So nothing would prevent OP's setup from having six sets of underground service conductors feeding six 200 amp service disconnects, or one main underground feed, splice box or gutter and then six service disconnecting means using 2020 NEC.
Yes, but we are talking about an iline or similar panel with six disconnects in the same enclosure. That’s what you can’t do in 2020.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Yes, but we are talking about an iline or similar panel with six disconnects in the same enclosure. That’s what you can’t do in 2020.
Correct.

I'd also guess if you purchase with a job quote with all your other Square D equipment on the quote you probably can have one with a 1200 amp main for less (including labor to install everything) than six separate disconnects and possibly aux gutters or splice boxes and large multiport Polaris taps, splice blocks, or whatever plus tying all your GEC's together, etc, just bring everything into one main breaker and one main grounded bus, and all outgoing feeders into one cabinet.

Looks like you didn't cobble it together when finished either.
 
Correct.

I'd also guess if you purchase with a job quote with all your other Square D equipment on the quote you probably can have one with a 1200 amp main for less (including labor to install everything) than six separate disconnects and possibly aux gutters or splice boxes and large multiport Polaris taps, splice blocks, or whatever plus tying all your GEC's together, etc, just bring everything into one main breaker and one main grounded bus, and all outgoing feeders into one cabinet.

Looks like you didn't cobble it together when finished either.
Yeah since finding out about them nixing MLO service panels, I have been curious how it would price out doing, say, 6 individual 200 A circuit breaker enclosures vs a MB big boy. Something like that might not be too bad as far as feeding it as you could pull multiple sets to the transformer vs essentially the same thing for the single big boy they would just be technically one set in parallel for the big boy. This rule hasn't effected me yet but when it does I will price it out with the separate enclosures.

I wonder if the manufacturers will come up with something to accommodate that new horrible rule.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Yeah since finding out about them nixing MLO service panels, I have been curious how it would price out doing, say, 6 individual 200 A circuit breaker enclosures vs a MB big boy. Something like that might not be too bad as far as feeding it as you could pull multiple sets to the transformer vs essentially the same thing for the single big boy they would just be technically one set in parallel for the big boy. This rule hasn't effected me yet but when it does I will price it out with the separate enclosures.

I wonder if the manufacturers will come up with something to accommodate that new horrible rule.
My thoughts were this would effect the residential area where people are putting in meter mains with 2-200 amp mains because as written I think they would not be allowed.

I recently installed one of those that came with 2020 required "emergency disconnect" label, though it was loose in the box and needed field applied. That got me to wondering if the manufacturer knows it will be acceptable to use with 2020 code. Didn't matter for me because I am still on 2017, and looking like won't be going to 2020 until probably at least next year sometime, Covid thing held up legislation that had to happen to get it adopted here and they did resume the legislation session more recently but I'm pretty sure the bill for this will not have enough priority to do anything with it before the session ends.
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
My thoughts were this would effect the residential area where people are putting in meter mains with 2-200 amp mains because as written I think they would not be allowed.

I recently installed one of those that came with 2020 required "emergency disconnect" label, though it was loose in the box and needed field applied. That got me to wondering if the manufacturer knows it will be acceptable to use with 2020 code. Didn't matter for me because I am still on 2017, and looking like won't be going to 2020 until probably at least next year sometime, Covid thing held up legislation that had to happen to get it adopted here and they did resume the legislation session more recently but I'm pretty sure the bill for this will not have enough priority to do anything with it before the session ends.
So thats why the disconnect I installed today had that sticker with it! I thought "this is new?"
 
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